Well, it’s been an a fun, eventful weekend at our house. I’ll tell you more about it in future posts.
Saturday was our annual ladies-of -the-family Purim celebration. I’ll explain that more, too.
But my choice of bold, beautiful, brave woman this year (again, more in future posts) is a pastor’s wife, Katharina Luther.
Here’s her story.
I’m not sure how romantic the circumstances were the first time you met your husband, but I’m sure whatever they were, they were more romantic that Katie’s.
Katie grew up in a convent. Her mother died when Katie was only three, so her father, not knowing what else to do with her, put her in care of the nuns.
Naturally, she also became a nun, but as she studied the tenants of the Catholic faith, she realized that she didn’t agree with all of them. She heard about a man, Martin Luther, who was teaching salvation by grace and she was interested – as were some other nuns. But to follow Luther, they would have to leave the convent.
When Luther heard of the restless nuns, he devised a plan. He convinced the merchant who delivered herring to the convent, to hide the 12 nuns in empty fish barrels and help them escape. The merchant agreed and the nuns were freed. But there was a problem. Eleven of the nuns went back to their families or were married or found positions – but not Katie.
Finally, Luther’s friends convinced him to marry Katie himself. He was given the old Augustinian monastery at Wittenburg, so he and Katie moved in. Love? Probably not at first.
Luther wrote: “There is a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage. One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow which were not there before.” But it wasn’t long after that he wrote to another friend, “My Katie is in all things so obliging and pleasing to me that I would not exchange my poverty for the riches of Croesus.”
Luther, the monk, became a big champion of marriage.
Katie did a lot for Luther. She got up at 4:00 a.m. each morning to care for the vegetable garden, orchard, fishpond and barnyard animals. Yes, she even butchered the animals herself. Often she cared for more than 30 students at the monastery – and her husband, who was often sick.
But it wasn’t all work for Katie. At the encouragement of Luther, Katie also studied and memorized the Bible.
The Luthers had six children of their own and raised four orphans. One of their children died young, but the other five all grew and gained prominent positions in life.
The Luther parsonage was “filled with children, students and relatives. It was a place of culture and music and of joy and happiness.”
Luther summed up their marriage like this: I would not exchange Katie for France or Venice, because God has given her to me, and other women have worse faults.”
Married life might have begun for as a fugitive in a herring barrel, but Katie built a home that was held in high esteem as a model for other German families.
Katie is also considered to be the first ministry wife who 100 percent supported and encouraged her husband, working by his side and truly being a helpmeet. Their home is memorialized as the very first parsonage.
So, the next time you think you’ve got it bad – think about Katie. Think about getting up at 4:30 each morning to butcher the animals for your ten children and the 30 students over in the monastery. Think about marrying someone who chose you ONLY because he didn’t know what else to do with you. Yet, turning that pastor’s home into one of culture, music, joy and happiness.
I say, “Good for you, Katie.”